Precipitation reduces drought stress in some top corn growing states

The drought monitor released March 18 showed reduced drought stress in some of the top corn growing states after precipitation was recorded across parts of the region. A few states, including North Dakota, recorded expanded drought concerns.

Precipitation totals in the southwest corner of the Iowa reached 3.5 inches between March 9 and 16, clearing up abnormally dry conditions in several counties. Total acreage facing moderate, severe, and extreme drought conditions in the Hawkeye state also dropped. Most of the remaining D3, extreme drought acres are located across O’Brien and Clay counties in the northwest corner of the state.

Map of Iowa precipitation totals
Photo credit: Iowa Environmental Mesonet

Across the Mississippi River in Illinois, dry conditions crept up slightly with more acres deemed abnormally dry. Except for a small corner of Jo Daviess County in the northwest part of the state, moisture stress continues to be confined to the central part of Illinois.

Recent precipitation cleared all extreme drought from the latest Nebraska map. However, 80% of the state is still abnormally dry, or worse. Severe drought conditions persist in the southwest part of the Cornhusker state.

There was little change in Minnesota since the previous drought monitor. Abnormally dry conditions, or worse continue across 100% of the state. The northern third of the state is especially challenged with moderate drought.

Moderate drought and abnormally dry conditions cover many counties in the northern half of Indiana, encompassing about 39% of the states’ acres.

Extreme drought conditions dropped by about 8% in Kansas, thanks to rain events that brought more than 4 inches of precipitation to many parts of the state between March 9 and 16. The biggest drought concerns are now isolated to the western edges of Hamilton, Stanton, and Morton counties in southwest Kansas, where drought is still at the D3 level.

Kansas drought monitor map
Photo credit: U.S. Drought Monitor

While drought severity was reduced across many acres in South Dakota, moisture shortages still challenge the entire state. About 40% of the state is suffering from severe drought.

Moderate drought conditions grew to cover 10% of Ohio last week. More than half the state is abnormally dry, or worse. Southern Ohio continues to have sufficient moisture.

Abnormally dry conditions dropped to 6% of Missouri according to the most recent drought monitor. This covers an area of about eight counties in the northeast part of the Show Me State.

Drought conditions were almost unchanged in Wisconsin. Most of the state was designated abnormally dry on the latest map. Only five counties in the southeast part of the state reported no moisture concerns.

Across the Great Lakes in Michigan, there was also little change in the drought monitor. Just over 3% of the state is in moderate drought.

For the third week in a row, Kentucky was the only top corn growing state that did not report drought conditions.

In North Dakota, the drought expanded significantly. Now 17% of the state is in extreme drought.

North Dakota drought conditions
Photo credit: U.S. Drought Monitor

Exceptional drought conditions in western and southern Texas grew slightly in the latest drought monitor report. Drought conditions are significantly worse than a year ago in the Lone Star state.

Tennessee’s map was unchanged in the latest drought monitor report. Abnormally dry conditions are still isolated to two spots covering less than 5% of the state. The rest of the state has sufficient moisture.

Looking north, Pennsylvania also reported little change. Abnormally dry conditions continue to be focused in the northwest part of the state.

Drought continues to plague 100% of Colorado. About 15% of the state is in D4, exceptional drought.

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